A lot has been written and said about Manila.
As the Philippines's capital, Manila has continued to attract locals and tourists from all over for its fusion of old and new. Steeped in history and embracing modernity at its own pace, that’s Manila.
If you're planning to visit Manila, you might want to consider this list of things to do during your stay.
1. Travel Back in Time
During the Spanish era, Manila received a European treatment that was manifested in its architecture. Experience all these when you visit Intramuros (or “the walled city”) and have a glimpse of what was life like back then. Don't forget to include Rizal Shrine, Fort Santiago, and Casa Manila in your itinerary!
2. Marvel at Filipino Art
It is no secret that Filipinos are artistic in nature. A trip to the local museums around the metro is a testament to that. A day at the National Museum of Fine Arts is a good start for a crash course on Philippine art. The best part? Entrance is free!
3. Go on a Binondo Food Trip
Known as the "World's Oldest Chinatown", Binondo in downtown Manila is also famous for their number of food establishments offering Chinese cuisines. While you're at it, might as well buy some pasalubongs ranging from hopia (mung stuffed bread) or a selection of dumplings!
4. Shop at Divisoria
Being the capital city, Manila is also the center of commerce which explains why a number of business establishments is located within the area. The most popular destination, however, is Divisoria. From clothing to souvenir, this shopping district has anything and everything that you're looking for depending on your budget.
5. Marvel at Old Architecture in Escolta
Once known as “Manila's Fifth Avenue”, a stroll at Escolta will make you appreciate architecture from a bygone era. From the Burke Building, which had the first elevator in Manila, to an art-deco theater called Capitol among other establishments long converted to shops and restaurants, Escolta has something to tickle your fancy.
6. Experience the Grandeur of the Grand Dame
Ever since it opened its doors in 1912, The Manila Hotel has become one of the most famous hotels in the area. Whether it's a staycation or a buffet at their famous Café Ilang Ilang, The Manila Hotel offers an unforgettable five-star experience each and every time.
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7. Take a Stroll at Rizal Park
Just across the Manila Hotel is the Rizal Park more commonly known as Luneta. The park has witnessed several events in Philippine History, including the assassination of Dr. Jose Rizal. At present, Luneta is also a home to a number of parks which families can spend time in.
8. Visit Century-old Churches
Although a holy week tradition for Filipino Catholics, most churches in Manila can be visited whole year round and one can marvel at architecture or religious art. San Agustin Church in Intramuros, for instance, has an adjacent museum which has a collection of religious vestments and ceremonial robes.
9. Watch Theater Performances at Cultural Center of the Philippines
If you're into the performing arts, a trip to the Cultural Center of the Philippines is a must on your Manila itinerary. With performances all year round, there's something for everyone from one-act plays to musicals and recitals.
10. Marvel at the Famous Manila Bay Sunset
Cap a day of walking and sightseeing by witnessing the famous Manila Bay sunset. One can sit on the walls close to the breakwaters of Roxas Boulevard, people watch and enjoy this sight to behold—at no cost!
Of course, there's still a lot to do in Manila. As a popular song goes, "Simply no place like Manila!".
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